The yoga of being there

I had hoped to attend at least one yoga class while I was in New York last month. I’ve got to review several classes as part of my yoga teacher training, and I thought it would be intriguing to see how things were done in another part of the country. So I asked my regular teacher for recommendations, jotted down the studio and teacher she suggested and tentatively planned to zip from my conference to a little downward dog action.

It didn’t happen.

There are a number of reasons, and what I thought would be the biggest (the studio’s location in relation to the conference, which wasn’t especially convenient) turned out to be the least of my worries. I spent two days on my feet surrounded my tens of thousands of other people. I was wiped by the end of each day, and the last thing I needed was a physically challenging asana practice.

But as any teacher trainee or relatively dedicated yogi would tell you, asana is only one part of yoga.

I had plenty of opportunity to focus on yoga’s other aspects (and, OK, even a little asana) during Book Expo America. I spent a great deal of time focused on my breath, trying to stay calm in the midst of an overstimulating environment. I tried to let outside distractions fall away and turn my focus inward. And I spent a great deal of time in tadasana, or mountain pose, attempting to root my feet into the ground, lift my inner arches and support my spine with my core muscles, even as I waited in line for nearly an hour in some cases to meet various authors.

I love the asana practice, and it’s what drew me–and so many others–to yoga. But there’s so much more happening on my mat than my bending into funny postures. And although my body ached at the end of a few days of BEA, I’m always grateful for the reminder that there’s more to yoga than downward facing dog.

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